No industry is more vital to global economic health than the global logistics market, which will be worth more than 15.5 trillion by 2023. Not only is the market size objectively attractive — logistics is one of the more splintered industries out there. Per 2014 Statista data, at least 15 logistics companies made over 10 billion euros in revenue. With the industry poised for more growth and a bevy of problems to solve, startups are tackling logistics problems from all angles, including returns, real-time supply chain visibility software, and low-cost on-demand fulfillment providers.
Let’s look at how five startups are enhancing the e-commerce logistics ecosystem.
Many e-commerce companies want to offer features to compete with the likes of Amazon but developing the logistics process to do so is a complicated, costly endeavor. ShipBob, which raised $63 million in early September 2018, helps the little guys close the gap in logistics fulfillment by offering a low-cost two-day shipping fulfillment option. Instead of sending items to ShipBobevery time an order is made, ShipBob acts as a complete fulfillment provider, storing your inventory and shipping it off as orders are made.
Retailers maintain control over your inventory and all the insight a store owner could want can be viewed through a web or mobile app dashboard. When your customer places an order, ShipBob will send it to anywhere in the world through the fastest, most cost-effective option.
An advantage of e-commerce is that consumers can make a purchase from the comfort of anywhere, and often when they hadn’t even planned on it. The drawback is an increase in returns. When e-commerce companies don’t have their reverse logistics process thought out, they lose a lot of money. Happy Returns simplifies the return process by allowing customers to bring their merchandise to a Returns Bar location without having to package the item, print a shipping label or even wait for a refund to come. Happy Returns solves a huge pain point for a lot of e-commerce companies while helping them improve their customer experience with free and convenient return experiences.
Why make your shipping experience any more complicated than it needs to be? Shippo, which raised $29 million in October 2017, provides cloud-based software that lets e-commerce companies browse discounted rates from over 50 carriers, get shipping labels made automatically with a preferred service and save user preferences to speed up the most tedious part of many e-commerce businesses. Aside from navigating your logistics operation from one platform, Shippo gives brands the features to satisfy their customers, such as up-to-date tracking information, a simple returns policy and positive post-purchase experience.
What do you do when you’re operating a small—yet successful—e-commerce business to sell electronics and you suddenly get an influx of international customers? It’s a tricky supply chain to develop. How can you keep shipping costs down, ship internationally, and not spend a lot of time thinking about it? Australian-based Sendle takes the hassle and guesswork out of the equation, offering monthly pricing on domestic or international shipping with tracking, package insurance and doorstep delivery.
To top things off, they also pick it up from your doorstep.
Any e-commerce company that has scaled knows how unclear the supply chain can become as order volume increases. ClearMetal, which recently received $12 million in funding, promises to make supply chain management easier by providing an end-to-end AI-powered analytics logistics platform. What has historically been a task of consolidating shipment information from various sources is now in one view and in real-time. ClearMetal’s predictive analytics technology allows businesses to gauge when their shipments will arrive to maximize efficiency and drive revenue.
These five startups enhancing e-commerce logistics provide a glimpse into how the logistics process will look in a decade. Even more solutions will be available to help smaller e-commerce companies compete with the bigger players without having to jeopardize operating budgets.
And what’s not to love about a more level playing field?